The Purbeck Mineral and Mining Museum is a great destination for anyone interested in the history of Purbeck Ball Clay mining, the heritage of Purbeck, and the Purbeck narrow gauge railways. It is located in Purbeck Park, near Corfe Castle, Dorset, and housed in one of the last mine buildings in the area. Fans of Antiques Roadshow will be thrilled to know that the museum was founded by the show’s Paul Atterbury and MP Richard Drax in 2014.
At this time, the museum’s main focus is on the ball clay industry, with additional interests revolving around mining equipment, images and artifacts associated with economic history and the railways, the history of shale and shale gas, limestone, other clay, chalk, other aggregates, and oil. It seems that the museum’s main interests shift from time to time. The locomotive Secundus, which is housed at the Swanage Railway Museum at Corfe Station is also cared for by the volunteers at PMMM. A welcome introduction is provided when possible, and the experience is self-guided. The museum is dog-friendly, so long as your furry friend is on a lead.
PMMM also accepts item donations so long as the subject matter fits in with their other displays. This could include equipment, archive material, photographs, or ephemera. Just imagine how neat it would be to donate an item to be featured on display in the museum! If you do have an item that you think would fit in nicely, be sure to take a look at the Collects Development Policy pdf file on the museum’s website to make sure that the item fits in those guidelines.
Purbeck Mineral and Mining Museum Cost & Hours
Cost is no reason to pass up the opportunity to visit – the museum offers free entry, but visitors are asked to generously donate at least 1 euro to help maintain the attraction. Nothing would have been possible without the many volunteers that have dedicated their time to creating and running PMMM. Note that the museum is actually a charity that runs on donations and sponsored events, so consider making a larger donation if you have the means to do so. Otherwise, you could sign up to lend a hand by volunteering with any ongoing projects.
Currently, PMMM is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so hours are not listed on the website. It is possible to reach the main office by phone by dialing +44 (0)1929 408490 Monday through Friday from 9 am – 5 pm if you have any questions, or if you’re looking for information about when it might be re-opened up once the current pandemic has passed.
Parking is available in Purbeck Park’s ‘Pay & Display’ car park. Visitors can also access restrooms with changing stations in the car park. A refreshment kiosk is located on Norden Railway Station. Food and drinks aren’t available on-site, so be sure to grab a drink and eat before your visit. Some of the site is wheelchair accessible, but handicapped persons should be aware that there are some parts that cannot be covered in a wheelchair, pushchair, or buggy. While this attraction may only entertain visitors for a few hours, it is located right next to the Swanage Railway, making it possible for visitors to enjoy a ride on a steam-hauled train if desired. This could certainly be a great way to end the day after taking in everything that is on display at PMMM.